Rules for Writing – Tom Clancy

15 Oct

Until he died, I didn’t realize Tom Clancy lived down the road from me in Maryland. Suddenly I feel closer to this military thriller author who went to Loyola (my neighbor’s daughter is there) and worked in the insurance business (like my dad). Clancy also died in the same year as his wife, a quite common phenomena of which many of us can point out examples amongst those we know. “Timing is everything” people sometimes say, and it’s time to blog another Rules for Writing.

My thanks to Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield. The following are cut from their article, and I highly recommend you read their full write up at this link.

1. Tell the story. “Fundamentally, I think of myself as a storyteller, not a writer,” said Clancy.

2. Writing is like golf. “It’s hard work…You keep doing it and doing it until you get it right.”

3. Make pretend more real than real. “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense,” said Clancy.

4. Writer’s block is unacceptable. “I don’t even consider the possibility.”

5. No one can take away your dream. “Your life may change, but your dream doesn’t have to.”

That last one hits home for me someone who in the midst of big changes. I know I will use it to encourage aspiring writers. Tom Clancy was denied the military career he wanted, but that didn’t keep him from working with military members and producing “The Hunt for Red October” “Clear and Present Danger” and “Patriot Games” to name a few. According to Biography’s online article,

His crafting of plausible military scenarios is so realistic that he has become a favourite of the United States Military and Intelligence services. Pentagon officials regularly provide him with background material for new projects, and he was even offered a position as an unpaid consultant to the National Space Council.

Hold on to your dream. Work at it. Pursue it. You never know where it might take you. As Tom Clancy said, “No one can take away your dream.”


Kristin King is living the dream as an author and publisher. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her imprint, Three Kings Publishing can be found here.Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).


Posted by on October 15, 2013 in On Writing


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2 responses to “Rules for Writing – Tom Clancy

  1. robakers

    October 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Wonderful rules. I too love the last one. I tell my kids to not be afraid to live their dreams.


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